Evangelical Christians Across All 50 States Call for Senators to Resolve Plight of Dreamers Urgently
WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 2,800 evangelical pastors, leaders and laypeople are urging their senators to address the situation of Dreamers with urgency.
The advocacy for Dreamers, immigrants brought to the United States as children, comes in the form of an Evangelical Immigration Table letter signed by constituents in all 50 states and sent in the past week.
About 616,000 of these Dreamers are currently able to reside and work lawfully in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but a recent court decision has thrown the DACA program — and these young people’s futures — into jeopardy, in addition to blocking the program from new applicants who otherwise would be eligible.
In their letter, evangelicals urge Congress to forge consensus on legislation to offer these young people “an expedited process to apply for permanent legal status and eventual citizenship.” The letter also notes the need for broader immigration reforms, including a restitution-based process that would both honor the law and keep families together.
The following are quotes from a few of the signatories.
Rev. Joel Tooley, Lead Pastor, Melbourne First Church of the Nazarene, Melbourne, Florida:
“In my conversations with fellow evangelicals here in Florida, I cannot recall one time anyone expressed concern about a permanent legal solution for Dreamers — in fact, research shows that the great majority of evangelical Christians want Congress to act on this. My friends who are Dreamers are health care providers, schoolteachers, professors, business owners and pastors who only know America as their home. History will look back on this moment and judge our action or lack thereof on behalf of people who deserve a just resolution to their situation. Now is the time.”
Lawrence Yoo, Lead Pastor, Waypoint Church, Durham, North Carolina:
“We are calling on Congress to act now in enacting legislation to protect Dreamers. Dreamers have been an integral part of our communities since they arrived as children and have been here for many years. They deserve a legal solution that is just and recognizes their potential to help build our country.”
Laura Fontaine, Director of World Relief Quad Cities, Geneseo, Illinois:
“Dreamers are essential members of our community here in the Quad Cities, of our local churches, and of the economy of our state and of the nation. The recent court decision in Texas has once again thrown Dreamers into a state of uncertainty. They deserve better than this — they’ve more than demonstrated that they love this country, and it’s long past time that they not just be given a temporary deferral of deportation but the opportunity to apply for citizenship. Both Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth have long led the way in advancing the Dream Act. I’m praying they’ll do everything within their authority to ensure that it finally becomes law — and then get to work on forging bipartisan consensus to finally pass broader immigration reforms.”
Dr. Sam Flores, South Carolina District Superintendent, Church of the Nazarene, West Columbia, South Carolina:
“America is at its best when it lives up to the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for everyone. My Christian identity tells me this includes the many Dreamers who know this nation as their home.”
Anthony Cox, Lead Pastor, Mercy Hill Church, Phoenix, Arizona:
“Now is the time to act in affirming thousands of our neighbors in Arizona that have contributed so greatly to our country. Dreamers’ futures are at stake, and I want to urge Congress to find solutions that will protect our vulnerable neighbors.”
The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values